Whale Wishes

28 Plays Later – Challenge #9

Today we’re going dark. But I leave it to you to decide what sort of darkness is right for you.

You can either go into the dark deep blue sea for a bit of animal research (Blue Whale, the animal)

Or you can go into the dark side of humanity.  (Blue Whale, the “game.” You really don’t want to know.)

 

gray whale baja sur

 

WHALE WISHES

 

Excerpt:

TINA (V/O): Female blue whales give birth about once every three years, after being pregnant for a year. Whale calves nurse for the first year of their lives, during which they can gain up to 240 pounds a day. The average calf is around 24 feet long and weighs 3 tons. They can live up to 90 years.

FRANK: Tina would love this place.

JOANNE: Would have. Loved. She would have loved this place. (teary). Our daughter is gone, and we’re sitting here in paradise about to go whale watching without her.

FRANK: No, we’re going whale watching for her.

JOANNE: You didn’t ask him about the ashes.

FRANK: I’ll ask him when we’re out on the water. I’m sure we can work something out.

JOANNE (calmer): I want to go down to the water… walk with me?

FRANK: Yes, dear.

To read the entire play, click the link below:

2018-09 – Whale Wishes

Flip the Switch

FliptheSwitch via Flash PromptFlip the switch.

(Don’t flip the switch.)

 

The voices follow her everywhere. She hears them in her apartment, on the subway, in the elevator. They’re a constant undercurrent whenever she listens to music.

 

A subliminal message of indecision.

 

Turn it off. Turn everything off.

(No. Leave it on. Let things happen as they will.)

 

It’s been a week, and then two, and she still can’t decide, and the voices – the whispers of her own subconscious – grow louder, more persistent.

 

Ordinary switches – lights, power strips, her computer – seem to be urging her toward a greater choice.

 

The simple act of turning off a light is exhausting.

 

Cut the power.

(Keep the power on.)

 

She walks through the rain, holding the pink umbrella she’s has since childhood, imagining switches everywhere. On car doors, on mail boxes, on the sides of buildings.

 

Finally, her soggy feet carry her inside the tall building, to the private room at the end of the hall on the seventeenth floor.

 

“Any change?”

 

The attendant in lavender scrubs shakes his head. “No; I’m sorry.”

 

She sits on the side of the bed, staring at the monitors, listening to the steady beeping and the machine driven intake and outflow of air.

 

“Can you call the doctor, please?”

 

The attendant nods once and disappears.

 

She lifts the still-warm, wrinkled hand of the man who has been her lifelong constant, providing her with a pink tool set, a Fisher-Price car, petite garden tools so she could work along-side him.

 

“Pop-pop?” She uses her childhood nicknamefor him. “I know you never wanted this. I’m sorry. I should have listened.”

 

Her tears wet his skin, roll into the crevices of hands that could braid hair or hang a tire swing with equal finesse.

 

“I found my old fishing pole in the garage. You taught me how to bait my own hook, and how to stun the fish we caught. I hope… I hope there’s fishing in heaven.”

 

She knows he can’t hear her words. She understands that there’s no longer any THERE, there.

 

But she keeps on talking.

 

The attendant returns with the doctor in tow.

 

“It’s time,” she tells the woman in a lab coat over a blue suit. “Let him go.”

 

It’s a solemn moment and yet it’s also mundane. The doctor flips a switch.

 

Silence falls.

Win or Luge

28 Plays Later
Challenge #8
Let’s be all sporty.

Find your inspiration from a sportical event, or from the culture of sportiality or from observing sportition.
Don’t sport with people’s feelings though, but do feel free to sport at sportspeople who sport their sports-gear.

 

Win or Luge

 

WIN OR LUGE

 

Excerpt:

ANNOUNCER (V/O): Now making his second run on this, the first day of the luge event here at the Olympic Sliding Center is Alejandro ‘Sasha’ Nowatovski. His time on his first run was an extremely competitive 0.81.09 seconds, but as you know, in single-slide luge, each competitor takes four runs and we total the times of all four.

There is a single beep and then SASHA primes his run. Pushing back and forward.

There are three beeps and he pushes off.

The lights begin to dim as soon as he’s offstage. There’s the sound of a crash, and a scream, and then a crowd screaming.

ANNOUNCER (V/O) (alarmed):  Nowatovski has lost control of his sled. He’s jumped the track. Medics are on scene… We’re returning you to studio…

Blackout

 

To read the entire play, follow the link below:

2018-08 Win or Luge

Scenes from a Marriage

28 Plays Later – Challenge #7

OK, so we focus way too much and worry about writing good stuff… how about writing some shite?
Like, proper total crap. (not literally! You know who you are!)
Not as easy as it sounds.
Just have no filters.
Let yourselves go

I didn’t like the “write shite” part of this challenge, but I really responded to the “let yourself go” part. Every year, I do 100 Days of Notecards, where I write a scene or sentence or snippet of dialogue on a 3×5 post-it and stick it on my fridge. To create this play, I pulled a bunch of those notecards (8 I think?) off the fridge and tried to put them in some semblance of order, but without any real connection.

 

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_bialasiewicz'>bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Scenes from a Marriage

 

Excerpt

PROLOGUE

TIME:  24 years ago

PLACE:  MOM’s kitchen.

LIGHTS UP on WOMAN and MOM at the dining room table. They’re each drinking coffee, and sharing a single slice of cheesecake.

MOM (concerned): You’re moving in with him?

WOMAN (confident): Yes.

MOM: You’ve only known him for five minutes. You know nothing about him.

WOMAN: Actually, it’s been six months.

MOM: Still…

WOMAN (ticking things off on her fingers): I know he likes strawberry-rhubarb pie and singing when he mows the lawn, and wearing socks during sex.

MOM gives WOMAN a gushy-mom look.

BLACKOUT

To read the entire play, click here:

2018-07 – Scenes From a Marriage

Bridge Traffic

BridgeTraffic via Flash PromptIn zero point three kilometers make an upward turn onto Higher Sixth Avenue.

 

“Mommy, is it true that in the olden days, cars could only go left or right and not up or down?”

 

“Yes. I remember when I was your age, taking long drives to the beach, and being stuck in bridge traffic for hours.”

 

“What’s bridge traffic? Does it have to do with that weird card game Gramma and Grampa play?”

 

“Card ga – oh! No! They play Canasta.”

 

“Canasta sounds ca-nasty.”

 

“It’s really not, sweetie. It’s just a card game.”

 

“Oh.” The child took a beat. “You were going to ‘splain me about bridge traffic.”

 

“EXplain,” her mother said. “And yes, I will. When I was a little girl, the only way to cross the river to the road that ran along-side the sea wall was to go over a bridge. That’s a road that’s suspended above water.”

 

“I KNOW what a bridge is. “

 

“Well, this wasn’t just any bridge, it was a draw bridge.”

 

“So, there was traffic because everyone stopped to draw the bridge?”

 

“A draw bridge has a section that gets lifted up when a large boat has to go up or down the river. Some boats had masts that were too tall to go under the bridge when it was down. So they’d crank up the center, and traffic would stop and wait.”

 

“That doesn’t sound ‘ficient.”

 

“Efficient, sweetie, and no, it wasn’t. But we didn’t have cars that could go up, or Aerial Highways that went to the Tiers, so we had to wait.”

 

“I don’t think I’d like that.”

 

“Oh, it wasn’t so bad. We didn’t have guidance systems and TotalGPS like we do now, so sometimes we could turn down – “

 

“But you said you couldn’t GO up or down!”

 

“You’re right. We could turn ONTO a street we weren’t familiar with, and just see where it took us.”

 

“You mean, you could dev’ate from your set Travel Plan?” The little girl’s voice was full of wonder.

 

“Deviate. And we didn’t file travel plans. We just went wherever the road might take us.”

 

“And you weren’t afraid?”

 

“No… it was wonderful. Any trip could become an adventure. Sometimes we’d find parks or playgrounds or just neighborhoods with cute houses we didn’t know existed.”

 

“Do you miss it?”

 

“Very much. I wish you could experience it, sweetie. Life was so much more relaxed.”

 

“Even the bridge traffic?”

 

In one point three kilometers turn Down, then merge into the exit flow for Mid-level Forty-fifth Street.

 

“Yes. Even that.”

 

An Exercise in Futility

28 Plays Later – Challenge # 6
#stillnotequal

Today (February 5th) is in celebration of the 100th year anniversary of Women first being given the vote in the UK. However, we’re also going to acknowledge that women didn’t actually get equal voting rights to men until 1928, so today’s prompt is: ‘Still Not Equal.’

And to reflect modern times, I’d love you to write it in the style of a farce, if you like (or whatever you conceive to be farce in these days)!

Notes: This isn’t a farce. It’s just a bit of frustration that’s probably a shitty first draft of something else. I wasn’t really feeling this prompt. I’m sharing it anyway, because I’m enjoying documenting the process, including the parts of it that didn’t work, because they’re honing my writing voice.

Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_rh2010'>rh2010 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

An Exercise in Futility

 

Excerpt:

MARCI (pointing to a calendar tacked to the side of the cubical): Oh, that’s not extreme. We can still do a normal renewal within a year. If it was really extreme, we’d have to start from scratch. (Types into a computer). So, what I need from you is the renewal application, your current ID card – it is just ID? – and your social security card.

KAREN: Well, I did the application online (hands it over), and of course I have my old ID (hands that over, too) but I managed to lose my social security card somewhere inside my house, but your website said I could bring my W-2, so I did that, and…

MARCI: That’s fine. We just need to verify your social security number. (She spends several seconds typing into her computer.) You don’t drive?

KAREN: No, like I said, it’s just ID. I have… I have issues with depth perception, and tracking moving obj –

MARCI (cutting her off): Oh, that’s fine, I’m just confirming. You don’t have to do an eye-test since this is just ID.

KAREN: Well, yes, I knew that.

Click the link below to read the entire play.

2018-06 – An Exercise in Futility

Something About Jessie

Photo Source: Flash Prompt Facebook GroupIt was common knowledge that Jessie was one of the Special ones. Billy was four years younger than she was, but he’d known her all his life, so he knew stuff.

Like, he knew that no one ever catalogued the ways in which the wispy little girl with the rats’ nest of dishwater-blonde hair was Different; but whenever something strange happened, she was likely to be at its center.

Not that her oddity, her Otherness, was bad, mind you.

But there were little things.

Like, when you played Tea Party at her house, the tea in her doll’s cup would disappear a little at a time, even though you never saw her lift it to steal a sip.

And when you were playing Freeze Tag there were moments when you’d swear she’d frozen with her feet above the ground instead of on it.

And any time a dog or cat went missing, you were stupid if you didn’t ask Jessie to help you find it. You didn’t have to look into the luminous gray eyes that seemed so huge in her pale, pointy-chinned, freckled face to know the girl had a Way with animals.

Her Strangeness made her the favorite among the school children. Playing with her was like inviting Magic home.

But as the kids in her year edged toward adulthood, and belief in such things faded, Jessie was left alone, more often than not.

At thirteen, Jimmy from the other block hadn’t yet begun demanding to be called Jim, but he had a kind of quiet authority that he wore like a cape. If he thought something was a Bad Idea, even the worst bully would back off from whatever-it-was and go do something else.

It made sense, then, that Jessie and Jimmy would gravitate toward each other. They were both Different, even though neither was showy about it.

Billy knew this, because he was Jimmy’s little brother, and couldn’t help it. When he saw his brother and the Curious Girl leave their bikes by the side of the road and go walking down toward the pond he had to follow.

So, there was a witness when it Happened.

It was one of those days when summer hadn’t quite let go of the daytime, but fall was taking ownership of the night, and Jessie and Jimmy stood in the place where the fog curled up against the water’s edge.

“Set them out, in a circle like,” Jessie said, and Billy watched his brother take instruction from another, and a girl at that, arranging mason jars with twine around the tops.

“Good?” the older boy asked.

“Good,” the girl whispered back. Seemed like Jessie only ever whispered. As if, maybe, using her voice came at some kind of cost. “Now wait.”

Billy had been catching fireflies all his life, just like every other kid in their town, but he’d never seen the bugs just Come, the way they did for Jessie.

She held out her hand like she was catching raindrops, and every few seconds one of the jars would start to glow, the insects inside offering their Light instead of having it taken from them.

Billy wasn’t surprised when he realized the jars were hanging in the trees without actually being attached to them. Stuff like that seemed normal when Jessie was around.

You didn’t expect it, exactly; but you weren’t shocked, either.

He also wasn’t surprised when his older brother leaned in and pressed his lips against the girl’s. Billy was only nine, and mostly thought girls were gross, but there was Something About Jessie that made her more like a faerie than an actual girl.

Truth be told, Billy kinda wanted to kiss her too.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

‘Cause Jessie was still a girl, after all.

Billy slipped away while Jimmy and Jessie were still mashing their lips against each other’s, and he was pretty sure they hadn’t seen him.

He crept quietly down the track that led to the street, past where Jessie and Jimmy had dumped their bicycles, and then ran hell-bent-for-leather back toward home, in the door, up the stairs, to his room, and slammed the door.

When he saw the twine wrapped mason jar, hanging above his bed and glowing with firefly light, maybe that should have scared him.

But Billy looked at it, swinging in mid-air, attached to nothing.

And he smiled.

All About the Onions

28 Plays Later – Challenge #5

Use the following first line:

Take off the girdle, Gertl, and tell me everything about Onun’s onions,

or else little Dicklberg here will get it with this!

 

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

All About the Onions

Excerpt:

GERTL

(snarky)

Aww, Shanle, I didn’t know you cared.

SHANLE joins GERTL on her side of the hull, and uses his wrench to remove a couple of lug nuts – basically, they take something that looks like a wheel out of the hatch in the side of their ship. Colored wires snake from it’s reverse side.

SHANLE

I think I see the problem. (beat) No. I’m wrong. All I see is mass of horpifed wiring.

GERTL

(explaining patiently)

The onions became disconnected from the paving stone drive at the fourth intersection, and when contact was lost the latent energy caused a spark. If we restore the contact and secure the connection between the paving stone and the onions and then ground it with the nerf ball, we should be good to go.

SHANLE

(impressed)

How… how did you know all that? I thought Onun was the only one who truly understood how the onions functioned.

Click the link below to read the entire play.

2018-05 – All About the Onions

The Tears You Cry for Others

Photo Source: Flash Prompt Facebook GroupThe Tears are all there in bottles, aligned in rows, arranged on shelves in the far corner of the shop, where the sun can’t harm them and the temperature is constant – no chilling breezes every time the door opens.

Many shops offer a few bottles of Maiden’s Tears, but Madeleine is the only Keeper who offers the full line, and there’s no dispute that hers are the purest, the most potent.

Maiden’s Tears are most plentiful, and Madeleine has them further separated by vintage – that’s the age of the Supplier, not the age of the Tears, you understand.

Most shops never see anything beyond a 12, maybe a stray 10 if an order is mislabeled, but Madeleine offers 8s, which are full of innocent imagination. 13s, she warns, tend to induce snark when not used in extremely small amounts, and for special customers she’s been known to procure a rare, full-bodied 22 or 25.

Mother’s Tears – those are the varietals with the greatest differences. A 21 or 23 might have the best Fertility, but they’re often laced with Self Doubt and Regret. The 35s, Madeline says, and the 40s are best for boosting Confidence and Reliability, but if used incorrectly they can cause a spike in Sexuality that’s a bit unexpected.

Crone’s Tears go in and out of fashion. Some years, people clamor for the Wit and Wisdom they offer; other years, people avoid them, unwilling to risk high doses of Sorrow.

It’s said that Madeleine was a Supplier in her Maidenhood, that her Hopes and Dreams were among the strongest.

It’s also said she’s a Supplier of Crone’s Tears now, and that’s why she’s able to have such an extensive stock.

No one’s ever seen Madeleine Cry, but if you look carefully, she has the crescent-shaped mark under one eye – the kind you get from years of Collection.

It’s only ever one eye, of course. The Tears of one eye are Cried for others, but the Tears from the other eye are for yourself.

Legacy

28 Plays Later – Challenge #4

Adapt an existing work (poem, song, story, etc.) for the stage

 

 

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on UnsplashInspiration:

Sonnet #2, William Shakespeare

When forty winters shall beseige thy brow,
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tatter’d weed, of small worth held:
Then being ask’d where all thy beauty lies,
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days;
To say, within thine own deep-sunken eyes,
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use,
If thou couldst answer ‘This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse,’
Proving his beauty by succession thine!
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.

Excerpt:

BETTY

You should set a date and marry your doctor. You’ve got a pretty enough face now, and shiny young person’s hair, but it won’t last. Forty, fifty years from now you’ll be gray and wrinkled like me, and you won’t fill out that sweater so nicely.

I mean, look and me… I got no heinie and my tchotchkes hang almost to my navel. Trust me, a pretty face can’t last forever, and your doctor will give you lots of pretty babies.

ANNA

Well, we’re really not planning on children any time soon. My career is just taking off – I’m an architect – and I don’t want to be like my own mother, constantly having to balance work and home. I want to make my mark first, and then we’ll have a family.

BETTY

An architect? So, what when you’re old and saggy you’ll have some office building that you can point to and call yours? Mark me, young woman, you’ll look in the mirror some day and all you’ll see is your own eyes staring back at you, mocking your dead skin and fading hair. Children… children are the only real legacy there is.

To read the entire piece, click the link below.

2018-04 – Legacy